Finally, my brothers and sisters, farewell in the Lord.
The letter to the Church in Philippi reflects Paul’s own uncertainty about his life and what I think is his own trying to prepare his community for his passing (cf. 1:6; 1:20–24; 1:27; 2:5–11; 2:12–13; 3:7–11; 3:12–16).
The letter itself is believed to have been written around 62 CE and Paul is believed to have been martyred under the reign of Emperor Nero shortly thereafter.
What is even more moving is a word Paul chooses to use throughout his letter: chairo. It is used 9 times in this letter. It can be translated as rejoice. Here are a couple instances:
Phil. 2:17 But even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Phil. 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again to you is no trouble for me, and it is a safeguard for you.
Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!
I had the wonderful opportunity of being included in Mike Rohde’s new Sketchnote Workbook. This book is both beautifully illustrated and really helpful for learning how to use sketchnotes for all the different aspects of you life.
Awhile back I had an article published over at the Antioch Session blog on sketchnote preaching. If you’re interested in knowing more about sketchnotes and how to use it for your writing and preaching this is meant to be an introduction to the whole thing.
I opened my notebook and I began to draw the images that were floating in my head. I drew people. I drew lines and arrows. I drew symbols to represent texts, record players, networks, remix, critical mass and all the parts of my dissertation. When it was done I had before me my very first – of many to come – illustration of the “convergent model” – which is basically a renewal model for faith communities that want to draw on their tradition within new cultures while being “participatory.” In a matter of about 10 minutes, I went from not being able to explain succinctly or clearly what my model was or how it worked, to not only being able to explain it but show it with some very basic illustrations.
The story of Jonah is propelled forward, we learn, because Calamity looms over Nineveh. We don’t know what kind of calamity it would look like, all we know is that there is pending consequences for the Assyrian empire.
And Jonah is told by God to walk headlong into this situation, “to go and proclaim to, rather than against, the city” about what is about to happen.
This is significant. It is also significant, I think, that the first and only time a biblical prophet is asked by God to go into a non-Jewish city and give it a message from the Lord.
“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.”
(Jonah 1:1–3 NRSV)
Jonah is an old story, and it is even an over-told one. We so used to it being told from the perspective of Jonah as a vegetable, or other children’s stories that it seems too simplistic to be of use to us. Either that or we are caught in debates about whether it is a factual story or who are the wicked “Ninevites that need to be evangelized that” it can be difficult to find where Jonah fits for us today. But the story of Jonah – I like to think of it like a parable similar to a parable of Jesus’ – is something that is neither simple nor about evangelism, at least not in the way we have tended to think of it.
We are continuing our conversation through Parker Palmer’s book, “A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Towards the Undivided Life.” This week I am going to post discussion guides for chapters 4, 5, 6. The way we are doing these groups is sort of like mini-circles of trust. We haven’t been as disciplined about some of the very helpful guidelines on how an actual Circle of Trust is conducted, but we are starting with silence, reading a poem (or other 3rd thing) and then asking open-ended questions about that to get the sharing started. It’s been a very powerful experience to do this with our group.
I want to start with an image from the natural world, that symbolizes the marks of transformation is the metamorphosis of the butterfly.
How many of you have had the opportunity to watch a chrysalis transform before your very eyes into a butterfly? I find the metamorphosis of a butterfly captivating and beautiful. But, as with anything kind of change that takes place, it must happen carefully and in its own time. Each stage of metamorphosis is essential in the process of the butterfly becoming its “true self.”
Parker Palmer in his book we are reading for Fresh Bread “A Hidden Wholeness,” tells a story about how sensitive and fragile this process is. Continue reading →
Remixing Tradition in Today's World by C. Wess Daniels